Unforgettable trip to Turkey – Korea Times

Unforgettable trip to Turkey – Korea Times

Unforgettable trip to Turkey

By Lee Hyon-soo

Turkey is one of the top 10 travel destinations in the world. Fortunately, I had traveled to Turkey before the COVID-19 pandemic brought international tourism to a halt. Here is my travel anecdote.

From Seoul, my wife and I flew for almost 12 hours to get to Istanbul. After spending a night there, we boarded a national airline the next morning for our way to Cappadocia (“Kapadokya” in Turkish), where our coach tour was to begin.

Cappadocia is a region created by the erosion of soft volcanic stone by wind and rain for centuries. The unique lunar landscape of Cappadocia overwhelmed our senses due to its immense size. We spent two days exploring Cappadocia which has many sites with unique geological, historical and cultural characteristics. We saw countless beautiful rock formations and visited many caves that served as churches, living quarters or hiding places for early Christians during Roman persecution.

On day 4, we passed through Konya located at the southwestern end of the central Anatolian plateau and arrived in Antalya, Turkey’s largest resort on the Mediterranean coast. The first thing we did in Antalya was enjoy a short Mediterranean cruise. We had a wonderful time admiring the scenic coastline. We then took a walking tour of the old winding winding alleys of the city.

On day 5 we arrived in Pamukkale, also known as “Cotton Castle”. We relaxed for a while, paddling our feet in the warm mineral-rich water and climbed to the top of Mount Olympus by cable car. Mount Olympus is 2,543 meters tall at its highest point, making it Turkey’s tallest mountain. We enjoyed its vastness and unspoiled beauty.

On day 6, we visited Ephesus (“Efes” in Turkish). We saw the ruins of many ancient monumental buildings, such as the Library of Celsus, the Temple of Artemis, St. John’s Basilica, and a huge amphitheater.

Tourists flock to Ephesus to research the roots of early Christianity. Legend has it that the apostle John brought Mary to Ephesus and lived her last years there. Additionally, the apostle Paul used Ephesus as a base on a trip to Asia Minor for missionary work.

On day 7, our coach tour ended in Izmir, where we boarded a national airline back to Istanbul. We spent our last two days in Istanbul. Founded around 660 BC, it was originally called Byzantium. But its name was changed to Constantinople (from the Greek word meaning “City of Constantine”) in 330 and Istanbul in 1923. It was instrumental in the advancement of Christianity during the Byzantine era, before the Ottomans conquered the city in 1453 and transformed it. in an Islamic fortress.

The first historical site we visited in Istanbul was Hagia Sophia (which means “Holy Wisdom” in Greek). Built by Byzantine Emperor Justinian in 537, it was a Christian church until the Ottomans turned it into a mosque in 1453. It was opened to the public as a museum in 1935.

Besides Hagia Sophia, we also visited Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern and Blue Mosque (in Turkish, “Sultan Ahmet Camii”). It was also fun to stroll through the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest covered markets in the world.

Finally, we spent a few hours aboard a tour boat that traveled along the Bosphorus Strait that separates Europe and Asia. We took in the stunning views of Istanbul’s skyscrapers and colorful buildings bordered by the lush forests and tranquil blue waters of the city.
The writer ([email protected]) is a freelance columnist and author of “Tales of a Korean Globetrotter”.

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